I’ve been asked more times than I care to recount: why write another book about leadership? Hasn’t the subject been covered adequately by now? My immediate reply is, “no, otherwise we would see better leaders and less variety in leadership books being purchased, recommended, and read.” To put it simply, Leadership is as rich a topic as you can explore; it involves complex human interactions and springs from theory to practice.
Unlike what Sir Walter Scott wrote to describe the perils of writing solely Scottish novels, explaining that venturing into the realm of English history in his book, Ivanhoe, so he wouldn’t be typecast, to run out of energy or subject material or to have his characters become caricatures was probably true of a field like historical fiction.
“…he was not only likely to weary out the indulgence of his readers, but also greatly to limit his own power of affording them pleasure. In a highly polished country, where so much genius is monthly employed in catering for public amusement, a fresh topic, such as he had himself had the happiness to light upon, is the untasted spring of the desert: but when men and horses, cattle, camels, and dromedaries have poached the spring into mud, it becomes loathsome to those who at first drank of it with rapture; and he who had the merit of discovering it, if he would preserve his reputation with the tribe, must display his talent by a fresh discovery of untasted fountains” (Scott, 1997, p. xiv-xv).
The same cannot be said for the subject of Leadership because leadership is neither time-bound nor bound by geography. It touches us all and can be as difficult to define as loyalty, responsibility or honor.
Attempting to draw a general outline for the practice of effective leadership and then color within those lines may be ridiculed by some, but it is a rewarding endeavor and one that makes the author and the reader better by their efforts.